professional web design, small business

DIY Online Website Builders: Good or Bad?

May 2, 2023

professional web design companyIn recent years, there has been a rise in the popularity of online website builder services. Website builders offer a convenient way for an average person to create a website without any coding knowledge or specific technical skills. Although we think that these services are a bad idea for a number of reasons, they might work for you. If any of these describe you, check out online website builders:

  • You’re just looking for a small, personal site.
  • You have a small budget and you need a site up and running in a few days.
  • You have time to watch tutorials so you can learn how to use the DIY builder.
  • You just want to test your business idea before creating a custom website.
  • Good search engine rankings are not critical for your website.

As you read this, keep in mind that we’re a professional web design company. Naturally we want you to hire us to create your website. So if you’re thinking of going the DIY route for your website, make sure to do your research. Get several opinions. Read reviews from others. If you’re not sure and you want honest advice, contact us. Tell us your goals for your site and if we think an online website builder could work for you, we’ll tell you. Honestly.

DIY Website Builder Restrictions

First, online website builder services have definite restrictions. They typically offer a selection of templates and features broken down by categories. That makes selection convenient but also means your website could look and function just like another business’ website in the same category. As a result, you may find that your website looks and feels like many other websites that have been built with the same builder.

Another restriction is that the templates available through DIY website builders are designed to be used on the respective platform. Wix templates only work on the Wix platform; Squarespace templates on the Squarespace platform, etc. This means moving your website from one platform to another is very difficult if not impossible. DIY website platforms want to keep you as a customer once you’ve signed up, and this is one of the main ways they do it.

Lack of Flexibility

Second, DIY website builder services are not very flexible when it comes to expanding your site. Once you’ve created your website, making small changes are pretty simple, such as replacing text or pictures. But if you need to change the location of something on a page of your website, enlarge an image, or add more detailed features, you may find yourself stuck unless you are able to edit the CSS or Javascript of your site. This can be a major problem if your business needs to be able to adapt quickly to changes in the market.

Upselling

Online website builder services have a tiered plan model. The base tier *might* be fine for you. But it might not. The feature you want or need might not be available on your current tier. That means you may have to upgrade your subscription tier just to get access to one feature. For example, detailed information on your website’s traffic (analytics) is sometimes on a higher tier than the basic level. So the monthly fees could add up.

A Word About Shared Hosting

When you create a website with a website builder, your site will typically be hosted on shared hosting. Shared hosting means that your website will be “sharing” the allocated resources with all of the other websites “hosted” on the same web server. This hosting model keeps costs down and can be a good option for small websites. While shared hosting can have some drawbacks, there are plenty of websites that use shared hosting with little or no problems. So it might work fine for you. We have our own dedicated web servers and only host sites that we’ve created. We think dedicated hosting is the best solution because it provides more control and quicker response over shared hosting.

One of the biggest drawbacks of shared hosting is that your website’s performance can be affected by the performance of the other websites on the same server as yours. For example, if one of the other websites on the server experiences a spike in website traffic, the server’s RAM could quickly be used up. That can make your website load slowly or not at all.

Another drawback of shared hosting is that you may have less control over your website’s security. This is because the hosting provider will be responsible for securing the entire server. If one of the other websites has a security issue, it could potentially put your website at risk.

SEO (Search Engine Rankings)

Since the entire platform is DIY, you shouldn’t expect to get any hands-on help with SEO. The platform will probably offer help articles and tutorials that just scratch the SEO surface. That’s about it. It’s up to you to figure out the SEO for your site. If search engine rankings are not important to you, the lack of built in SEO capabilities in DIY website builders might not be that big of an issue for you. Just be aware.

Why Hire a Professional Design Company?

In addition to the reasons I’ve already mentioned, there are a few other things to consider when choosing between an online website builder service and a professional web design company:

  • Experience. A professional web design company will have years of experience creating websites for businesses of all sizes. This experience will give them the knowledge and skills they need to create a website that meets your specific needs and goals.
    Crystal Coast Technologies has been around since 2005. We bring real world solution building, problem solving experience to all of our projects. Professional web design companies like us rely on that kind of experience and start every project by building a deep understanding of both the client and their business. That way the solution they build perfectly meshes with the client’s goals.
  • Skills. A professional web design company will have a team of experienced designers and developers who can create a website that is both visually appealing and technically sound. They will also be able to help you with things like SEO, marketing, and social media.
  • Support. A professional web design company will offer ongoing support for your website. This means that they will be available to answer your questions, make changes to your website, add new functionality, and fix any problems that may arise.

Conclusion

If you’re serious about creating a website for your business, it’s important to choose a platform that gives you the flexibility and control you need to succeed. Website builders may be a good option if you’re on a tight budget or need a website quickly, but they’re not the best option for businesses that want to build a long-term online presence. If you’d like to read more, here are a couple of great articles that go into even more depth regarding the pros and cons of DIY website builder platforms.

Do you want a robust and scalable solution? Consider hiring a web developer to create a custom website for you. A custom website will give you the freedom to design your website exactly the way you want it, and the web design company can build it so you have full control over your website’s content.

 

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